Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Notes on "The Index," etc.

I've now worked through six of the first eight volumes of the free religionist paper, The Index, and it strikes me that we're going to have to revise somewhat our sense of what the important periodicals of the late 19th century were, for individualist anarchists. At the very least, we're going to have to add one to the list.

A few surprises:

  1. Tucker's translations of Proudhon's "The State" and "The Malthusians" both appeared in The Index in 1877, prior to their appearance in Liberty (which began publication in ).
  2. Following the end of the Tucker-Andrews debate on Proudhon in 1876, Stephen Pearl Andrews began a series of articles on "The Science of Universology"—a series which continued on a more-than-monthly basis through at least 1878. That 32 entries and counting. . . more than one hundred pages of new universological material, including responses to William B. Greene on his "doctrine of life" and his work on Herbert Spencer.
  3. The prosecution and imprisonment of Ezra H. Heywood for circulating "obscene" materials through the mail, occupied much of the attention of the free religionists as they formed their "liberal leagues," and led to a split in the movement. The 1878 volume of The Index contains extended debates over the Heywood case, and "obscenity" in general.

Dyer Lum wrote about buddhism (of all things) in the pages of The Index, and many other names are familiar from Tucker's Radical Review, and from later periodicals like Liberty and Lucifer.


Speaking of Heywood and the Comstock prosecutions, Google Books has the Proceedings of the Indignation Meeting Held in Faneuil Hall, Thursday Evening, August 1, 1878 in its collection. It also has The Persecution and the Appreciation: Brief Account of the Trials and Imprisonment of Moses Harman (1907), which was compiled in part by Herman Kuehn. Unfortunately, both texts are corrupt, either lacking pages or containing pages so badly scanned that they are unreadable. The Harman text is available on the same microfilm as the American Journal of Eugenics (which followed Lucifer, and is a whole other topic...) Here are a few more Heywood-related items there:

As contextual material for The Index, the Index-Word and Index-Liberty feuds, and the debate over Heywood and obscenity, Harvard University has the Papers of Francis Ellingwood Abbot, which looks like it might be full of interesting stuff.

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